October 30, 2008

Strategic Architecture: Strategic Management meets Enterprise Archiiecture

The adage the only constant is change seems to be an appropriate description of the status quo for modern organizations. Strategic management is mostly concerned with the alignment of the firm with its environment. Many different issues can be identified in this field, such as the issue of competitive advantage, the issue of corporate configuration, the issue of international configuration, et cetera. Different authors / thinkers have different belief systems, leading to different perspectives on these issues, some of which are diametrically opposed (Mintzberg et. all, 1998). When studied in isolation, each perspective seemingly provides the ‘right’ answer to the strategic issue at hand. However, for the strategizing manager they form a paradox: how to deal with the tension between these diametrically opposed perspectives that both seem ‘right’. The strategy tensions pertain to the organizational purpose, the strategy processes, the strategic content itself or the context surrounding strategic activities (de Wit and Meyer, 2006).

On the other hand, enterprise architecture is mostly concerned with the management of changes in organizations and evolved from the (more traditional field) of business / IT alignment (e.g. (Parker & Benson, 1989)). Enterprise architecture is, thus, seen as a means to an end and deals with issues such as the alignment of processes and underlying IT systems, regulating the behavior or (computer / human) actors within the enterprise and the optimization of processes, IT, infrastructure and human behavior with respect to some predetermined boundaries (e.g. (Op ‘t Land et al., 2008)). In practice a distinction is made between architecture as a prescriptive instrument and a way of documenting the desired state of the enterprise (e.g. (Lankhorst et al., 2005)). 

This weblog is about the relation between these worlds. The goal is to publish thoughs on:
  •  strategic management
  • enterprise architecture 
  • the relationship between these worlds
  • research results
  • case studies 
  • experiences in practice
  • references to interesting materials (such as weblogs, books, and articles)
About the author(s)
This weblog was started by Dr. Bas van Gils. Bas received his Masters degree in information management and technology from the University of Tilburg (the Netherlands) in 2002. In 2006 he received his PhD at the Radoud University (Nijmegen, the Netherlands) on the subject of Aptness on the Web. He has worked as IT architect / Enterprise architect for a few years, and presently works as consultant and lecturer at strategy works / strategy academy.

On occasion guest editors will be invited to post to this Weblog (if you're interested, please contact me via E-mail).

  • Op ‘t Land et al.. Enterprise Architecture – Creating value by informed governance. The Enterprise Engineering Series. Springer Verlag, 2008. ISBN: 978-3-540-85231-5
  • Lankhorst, M. (ed.) Enterprise Architecture at Work: Modeling, Communication and Analysis. Springer, 2005. ISBN: 3540243712
  • M. Parker & R. Benson. Enterprise wide Information Management: State-of-the-art StrategicPlanning. Journal of Information Systems Management, 1989, 14-23
  • B. Wit & R. Meyer. Strategy Synthesis, Revolving Strategy Paradoxes to Create Competitive Advantage - Concise version. Thomson, 2006. ISBN: 1-84480-192-6
  • Mintzberg, Henri, Bruce Ahlstrand & Joseph Lampl. Strategy Safari: a guided tour through the wilds of strategic management. The Free Press 1998 ISBN 0-684-84743-4
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